Members of the UK pub industry have welcomed the news that a meeting with senior government ministers has been set up to discuss the country's struggling pub sector.

All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group chairman John Grogan MP announced yesterday (4 February) that five senior ministers have agreed to a meeting with him to discuss the "urgent" matter of rising pub closures.

The news follows the publication of figures from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) that show 39 pubs are now closing in the UK every week.

A spokesperson for the BBPA told just-drinks: "We are very much in support of the meeting but the Government needs to start acting soon on the number of pub closures and start implementing measures in order to slow this down."

A spokesperson for Marston's also said its views were in line with those of the BBPA.

On-trade beer sales slipped 10% in the final quarter of 2008, but industry leaders blame tax hikes and extra regulation for exacerbating the situation.

Ministers expected to attend the meeting that will take place on 4 March are: health minister Dawn Primarolo, trade minister Angela Eagle, culture secretary Gerry Sutcliffe, Treasury minister John Healey and Home Office minister Alan Campbell.